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What shoes should women wear to an interview?

Updated February 21, 2017

If the person interviewing you for a job is looking at your shoes, you're in trouble. It either means you are so unimpressive that your footwear is more interesting than you are or your shoes are so inappropriate that she cannot help but stare. To avoid this pitfall, pick your interview shoes with the same care you choose your outfit and your CV layout.

Condition

One of the most important aspects of the interview shoe is that it should be clean and, if possible, freshly polished. Don't show up for an interview with shoes that are scuffed, ripped, fraying or otherwise damaged and dirty. Also make sure the shoes are sufficiently broken in so you can walk comfortably in them. Even if you buy a brand-new pair of shoes specifically for interviews, test drive the pair by wearing them an hour or more each day around the house.

Colour and style

The safest bet is to go with a classic and conservative style, such as a closed-toe and closed-heel pump, with heels that are no higher than five cm (two inches). Dark shoes are also safest, in colours such as black, brown, navy or maroon. Pick a pair that works best with the outfit you intend to wear, such as a navy shoe with a navy suit or a brown shoe with a beige outfit. Shoes should also match the tone of your outfit, which is usually conservative for a job interview. If you do have a suit with a bit of flair, feel free to choose shoes that also have flair--but in a tasteful, subtle way, such as a stylish buckle.

Taboo

Certain shoes are taboo for an interview, even if you know the job itself requires casual dress or messy work. Those shoes can come out later, after you've got the job. The interview is a time to show your class, not your sneakers. Also steer clear of anything with an open-toe style, stiletto or very high heels, garish prints or metallic finishes. Don't wear flip-flops, mules, clogs or other open-heeled shoes.

Oversized shoe details, such as buckles, zippers, tassels or other embellishments, should generally be avoided. You can sport a shoe with embellishments as long as those embellishments are somewhat subtle, tasteful and match the rest of the outfit.

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